May 23rd, 2008
10:01 AM ET
6 years ago

McCain rejects endorsement of a second controversial pastor

Sen. McCain is pictured in this file photo with Pastor John Hagee whose endorsement McCain also rejected Thursday.
Sen. McCain is pictured in this file photo with Pastor John Hagee whose endorsement McCain also rejected Thursday.

(CNN) - Hours after his rejection of Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, John McCain rejected the backing of Pastor Rod Parsley, who said that Islam was a “conspiracy of spiritual evil.”

"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America,” he told the Associated Press. “And I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement."

The decision to cut off Parsley could have the bigger impact on the presidential race: in 2004, the Ohio pastor was a major figure in an unprecedented evangelical turnout operation that helped an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative pass overwhelmingly, and which was widely believed to have helped President Bush carry the critical swing state state – and the presidency - by a slimmer one.

The leader of the World Harvest Church in Columbus also founded the Center for Moral Clarity - an organization which has held that adultery should be treated as a crime – during the last presidential cycle.

Related: McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. Jeremy

    Barack Obama's support for Rev. Wright was an example of a long time friendship that was becoming increasingly strained by Wright's belligerence. McCain's decision to seek out the endorsements of Hagee and Parsley were merely political. An ability to make wise political decisions is what determines a president's worth. It is disconcerting that McCain did so little research before courting bigots.

    May 23, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Mark Hayes

    But the comment Pastor Rod made about Islam is true and an overwhelming majority of Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Austrailians agree.

    May 23, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. George M

    Thank you, McCain, for rejecting the former used car salesman's endorsement.
    It's a little too late, you have shown that Republicans truly do not care about religious values, unless they can take advantage of it to get elected.

    I for one think that church leaders ought not endorse and candidate, else they be stripped of their tax exempt status.

    May 23, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. Brad

    This is a good thing that McCain has done, it separates him from Bush a little bit. It's also plainly obvious theater. I have little doubt that McCain shares the views of these idiots and would gladly say so if he thought it would help him get votes. Rational voters need to ask themselves why these backward thinking types of people endorse McCain. It's because they know he will be their man, regardless of what he says about them now.

    May 23, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. One America

    McSame sought the endorsement of these religous figures thinking it would not come back and bite. Just like he sought the funding from people whom sponsored terror aroung the world. MCCAIN JUST WANTS TO PUT LIMITS ON CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS (FREEDOM OF SPEECH, Religion, PRESS ECT). NO MORE BUSH POLITICS.....

    OBAMA 08.....

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. This doesn't matter either

    But, didn't he check these men out BEFORE SEEKING out their endorsement? And at least the stuff Rev. Wright said is historically true. We did bomb Hiroshima, the Tuskegee experiment did happen and West Virginia and Kentucky have shown that Blacks still have to overcome simply being born Black in this country to many whites who are as stuck in the past as Rev. Wright is. But the stuff Pastor Hagee said about Catholics was just nasty and untrue and Rev. Parsley's comments about Islam are untrue and vile. They really are teaching hate. And he was so anxious to get endorsements from Evangelists that he didn't even bother to research these men and their teachings. Or did he??

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Shawna

    Conservaties started this line of attacks, and now they have to deal with the consequences. Going into people personal lives interjecting their pastors and spiritual advisors was wrong. Typically republicans win using religous speech...NOW it is going to bury them.

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Susan, PA

    while most of the channels did talk abt this issue, I could not see any discussion abt this on Fox News.
    Media is afraid of GOP.

    even cnn.com put it on a ticker, not main news. What a shame!!

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Barry

    I don't see the connection to a "pastor problem" for McCain like Obama. Obama has openly credited and indded exhaulted Wright as "his pastor". He married Obama and his wife and Obama has been a MEMBER of his chruch for something like 20 years. Obama didn't disagree or decry any of Wright's sermons until it became politically neccessary for him to do so, leading many of us to believe that he really believes and thinks like HIS pastor, the "reverend" Wright. McCain, on the other hand is NOT a member of either one of these chruches, and has not lauded either one of these pastors as his mentor or as is "guide" in spiritual thinking. So, to say he has a "pastor problem" like Obama is really stupid. You simply cannot compare the two situations.

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Take the Purple pill

    Figures Bombs and Bible Neo-Conservitives pretending to be chrisitian.

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Bill

    Not quite the same thing as sitting in a pew for 20 years as a member of the church. Even CNN should be able to figure out the difference between this and Wright issue. Obama is not electable. Sounds like the democrats are going to steal defeat from the jaws of victory with an Obama led ticket.

    May 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. JamesAAMale

    OK, now let's have Obama medical records, form past 10 years. Also his current physical and pee test and hair frolical test to screen for controlled substance. Also first and foremost we want his FULL LIFE'S FBI FILE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC, NOW !!! Oh yes, and don't forget Michelle's file too.

    May 23, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. James Nelson

    How about spending 24/7 for the next 8 weeks endlessly discussing McCain's problem with seeking out and actively courting endorsements from religious radicals? What draws him to these wackos? Is he a closet fundamentalist? Does he share their bizarre and divisive viewpoints? If not, why does he try so hard to win them over? Does he not do any research into their backgrounds and positions? Is he careless in that regard or just stupid? Why did it take him so long to repudiate these nut jobs?

    I mean, if it's good for Obama– and you knuckleheads debated THAT whole ridiculous Rev. Wright "issue" for weeks (and Obama neither sought nor obtained his endorsement)– then it's only fair to ask these questions of McCain.

    C'mon, mainstream media! Show us you're not the shameless rightwing shills and dupes that we think you are!

    May 23, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. Take the Purple pill

    Wonder if they will go after McCain like they did Obama

    May 23, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Dan B

    How come the rest of American knew about this "reverend" but McCain and his elate staff of adisors didn't have a clue. Or, maybe they didn't want to admit it.

    May 23, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Philip

    What goes around comes around.

    May 23, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Casey

    I do not know how the American public, media and most ashamedly Christians buying into this crap by McCain. You crucify for going to church in search for Christ and glorify the other who seeks to use Christianity for political gain. I was up watching CNN last night and some of those who demonized Rev. Wright were the same people making excuses for Pastor Hagee.

    While Rev. Wright preached social justices, Pastors Hagee $ Presley preached about the religion of Catholics, Jews and Muslims and even the misfortune of fellow American but the public and media where quick to demonize Wright and give McCain & co as easy ride.

    My advice to McCain, Hagee & Co is that Jesus Christ is not up for sale and Jesus is not choosing your side because claim to be right, Jesus is looking for those to tell the truth.

    My advice to Christians is that they should look at what transpired so far with regards to character and behavior of all who are involved in the political process and decide for themselves who is behaving like a Christian.

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. OFFICER LESTAT A DICAPRIO (RET)

    MR MCCAIN, TRULY IS A MAN TRULY IS A MAN WITH A GOOD HEART
    HE SHOWED THIS BY GOING BACK TO VIETNAM WHEREHE WAS A PRISONER AT OF WAR TO SHOW THAT HE HAS PUT THE PAST BEHIND HIM, AND FOR GAVE THOSE THAT TREATED HIM SOO BADLY WHILE HE WAS A PRISONER, I AM NOT A MCCAIN SUPPORTER BECAUSE OF HIS STAND ON CONTINUING THE WAR
    BUT I HAVE ALL WAS LOVED HIM AND SEEN HIM AS TRULY A GREAT LEADER, AND ALWAYS THOUGHT HE WOULD MAKE A WONDERFUL PRESIDENT! UNTIL HIS RECENT CHANGE!

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Racism!

    Biased Fox News has nothing about McCain's "pastor problems" but when Obama had it, they were all over it. Talk about hypocritical. Let's see how long the media will talk about this charade.

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. mike e. cooney

    It is amazing how the far left radical fools state that this is McCains' pastor,WHEN HE IS NOT!! Liars on the looney left lie so blasted easy ,it is incedible.McCain lives in Arizona.The'pastor' in question resides in Columbus,Ohio.Apparently,a 1700 mile commute to church every Sunday is not something the lying leftists took into consideration when they dreamed up this blatant fib! But,when you consider the average IQ of your typical American hating socialist,it is not all that incredible.Nice try to compare McCains so called 'pastor' withB.O. Husseins, Rev Wright,a real ,American hating,racist,buffoon he has seen for 20 years!!

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Pastor Rudy Garza

    I could understand the rejection of Hagee for his Hitler comments, but now Parsley for stating something that polls show a majority of American's agree with; and a vast majority of Republican agree with. That settles it, I won't be voting at all this November.

    Pastor Rudy Garza

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Anna, SW Missouri

    Since McCain thinks that just because a person from Hamas thinks Obama would be a good President, that Obama should be branded with that as though he sought it, then McCain in turn needs to be branded with these endorsements that he actually sought.

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Sean Deason

    I urge anyone who wants to know the truth about this "war hero" to google the phrase "songbird McCain" to see what his fellow POW's have to say about McCains time in captivity.

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Josh

    Look who got caught trying to play the pastor-card.

    Aside from his insane temper, frightening old age, questionable health, lack of economic or domestic policy understanding, now there's this too.

    No McBush in '08

    May 23, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Independent in IA

    Use them....then lose them....typical McCain M.O.

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22